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Carolyn L. Westhoff, MD, M.Sc

Recipient, SFP 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award

Carolyn L. Westhoff, MDCarolyn L. Westhoff, MD, has been at Columbia University since 1986 and is currently Director of the Division of Family Planning and Preventive Services and of the Family Planning Fellowship in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She is also Medical Director of the Family Planning Clinics, which are a joint project of the New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health. She is Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Professor of Epidemiology and Population & Family Health at Mailman, as well as an Attending Physician at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Prior to her work at Columbia, she had been Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at S.U.N.Y. Health Sciences Center (Brooklyn), and had served as a Research Fellow in the Department of Community Medicine at Oxford University.

Dr. Westhoff received her medical degree from the University of Michigan and her M.Sc. in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She has published over 100 scientific articles, as well as many abstracts, relating to safety and effectiveness of contraception and abortion. She has served as an Editorial Board Member of Dialogues in Contraception and as an Associate Editor of Contraception since the early 1990s.

Dr. Westhoff is a previous SFP Board Secretary and was a founding fellow of the Society, as well as a founding member of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health. She has also served as President of the New York Obstetrical Society, Chair of the National Medical Committee of Planned Parenthood Federation, board member of the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, Chair of the American Medical Women’s Association’s Reproductive Health Initiative, and as a member of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Alan Guttmacher Institute and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She is the recipient of awards from Planned Parenthood of New York City, the National Council on Women’s Health, the New York Civil Liberties Union, and others.

Dr. Westhoff’s research interests include epidemiologic studies concerning reproductive health, contraceptive development and evaluation, and prevention and screening. She carries out clinical research and related policy work on all aspects of abortion care, from clinical trials of RU-486 to legal challenges to the federal Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. She is a principal investigator of the National Institutes of Health’s Contraceptive Clinical Trials Network, which evaluates novel contraceptives and currently focuses on woman-controlled microbicides. Additionally, she studies the effect of obesity on contraceptive effectiveness, and explores ways that health services changes can help women to more easily succeed with contraception.

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